Dating is a lot like a guest looking for a house to enter. We’re going to use this analogy throughout this work to learn how to give our hearts away in the way that brings us the most likelihood of being with a good person and not being hurt. We will also learn to take better care of our hearts and ourselves in the process. This doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t give our hearts away. Just that we should do it the smart way. Remember, love is hard. But it doesn’t have to be. We at Learn2Love sincerely hope that this article will help you be better able to love another, feel better about yourself, and attract the best people around you.
There is a big misconception in society today that we should “strive to show our heart to others, even though there is a risk it may get broken.”
That we should: “Be free. Show our hearts. Be brave. Accept that we may get rejected.” “Fall in love with someone on the street. Give them all out hearts.”
Sounds beautiful right?
I think that this is all nonsense.
We can think of this akin to using a stove. Let me rephrase the last par with our new analogy:
“Be free. Use the stove. Yes, there is a risk you may get burned. But use the stove, for a life without a stove is a life wasted.”
Would you so freely use the stove?
I hope not. When people start learning to cook, they take precautions. They learn how to get comfortable with basic recipes without taking out the fire to make some nice crème brûlée.
Yes, we should give our hearts. But we shouldn’t just go all-in blind. Your heart can only be broken to the extent that you give it to another. Learning to give when it is the right time is an excellent way to keep your heart safe and stay engaged the right way.Yes, we should give our hearts. But we shouldn’t just go all-in blind. Your heart can only be broken to the extent that you give it to another. Learning to give when it is the right time is so important. share with a friend
Keep your bedroom door closed when you have visitors
I want you to think of yourself as a house. It includes many rooms, doors, furniture, and maybe even some jewellery and artwork. You can imagine the house you grew up in, for example. The further you walk in this imaginary house, and the more rooms you visit, the more the person gets to know you. The more delicate the things they can interact with – those things that are really sensitive to you and your heart.
A guest comes to your door that you don’t know or recognize. What do you do with them? We often know the right thing to do when we just think about it in a different light. If you’re like me, well, I’d meet them on the front porch first before I’d invite them inside.
I’d start by asking them the basic questions: Who are you? What are you doing here? What can I help you with? By keeping the conversation on the porch, say even with the door half closed, the risk that something can go wrong with the house is pretty slim. Yes, they can burst down the door and run in to rob the house. But they probably won’t. At this moment, we can mitigate our risk of something bad happening with a stranger by keeping the conversation outside.
What does this represent? The first contact with a potential lover. Keep things simple. Talk about who you are from a very basic level. Your most valuable things, jewellery and delicate china, are locked away inside.
So it turns out that this guest at the door of your heart seems reasonable and nice and you are interested in getting to know them better. What do you do? If you’re like me, you’ll invite them in to take off their shoes and have tea. We can sit in the living room and get to know each other better. Slowly, we’re entering the deeper doors of the heart, slowly. They have so far only been to two rooms: the front entrance and the living room. The rest of the rooms are locked. If they were to cause some damage, the rest of our rooms, and the delicate china and jewellery chest, are safe.
This is akin to dating. Going for a walk together. Meeting for tea in a nice café. Slowly getting to know each other more. Here you can talk about things like your values, hobbies and experiences. A great thing to do would be to discuss your expectations of what a nice relationship might look like. Maybe what your hopes and dreams are from the future.
If a guest seemed nice after tea in our imaginary house, I’d politely ask them to leave and come back another time. Who knows if they are just pretending or this is who they really are? Besides, I’m getting tired and want to rest. Next time they come, maybe we’ll have a meal together in the dining room. This is akin to more dating – going to the movie theatre, talking more about each other’s childhood experiences, learning to feel safe around each other, and seeing if we are a good fit.
If at any point in this dating game we think that maybe we are not good for each other, such that we have very different expectations for what the ideal partner should be like or values, or don’t think we could support each other’s goals for the future and just aren’t enjoying the experience, that’s okay. Most of the house is still untouched. We’re still safe. Besides, it will take a few months to know if what we’re feeling is sustainable or just the initial hormone rush anyway.
After many months of good experience in the living and dining room of the heart, I would slowly expose more rooms. Invite them to see the next rooms only after you are very comfortable over multiple consistent encounters that they will respect this new room and treat it nicely before you let them in. Move slowly. In 10 Stupid Things Couples Do to Mess Up Their Relationships, Laura Schlessinger writes that couples should wait at least a year before deciding to marry. She writes that it takes at least four seasons to know someone. At least. Many mental health professionals recommend at least 17 good encounters before engaging in any intimate physical encounters.
You can only get hurt as much as you give yourself away.
You have to value something to feel the need to protect it
Your heart is special. There is only one of them in the world. There are also parts of it that are very fragile and may take years or even decades to recover if damaged. This is the same with priceless objects that we have in our imaginary house. Things like china, jewellery, artwork, or pictures passed on from generations in the family. Can you think of something like that which is priceless to you in your home? How long would you wait before showing something priceless to you to a guest in your home?
The problem in society today is that so many people, especially our most vulnerable young or insecure adults, give their heart away nearly completely at the slightest chance they get. Someone shows them interest, or they get a “crush” on someone and start thinking that they want to marry them and live forever with them. They give their entire heart to them, they open all the doors, and they put all their delicate china out on display that was passed on to them from their grandparents.
The problem is that when you don’t know someone and you let them in, they can only do as much damage as the rooms you let them in to. What if this stranger at the door is looking to rob you? Letting them into your most delicate and vulnerable places is likely to lead to some massive damage.
This feeling, of the china breaking, the house collapsing around us, and our most valuable possessions being stolen in front of our eyes, is similar to the feeling of heartbreak. We invite a stranger in, show them everything we have, and they take it in front of our eyes. Why leave all the doors open and the jewellery box unlocked? Why let them in upstairs before we get to know them first at the porch or in the living room?
This message is so important when it comes to accepting ourselves and our bodies. If you believed your jewellery was valuable, you would surely lock it away or hide it somewhere, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t just leave it around!
The same is true for ourselves and our bodies.
You have to value something to feel the need to protect it. You need to first believe your house is valuable before you build a fence around it or choose who you let in.You have to value something to feel the need to protect it. You need to first believe your house is valuable before you build a fence around it or choose who you let in. The same is true for our bodies. inspire someone
So many people walk around today thinking that they are not good enough or deserving of love. They have deep insecurities about themselves and speak very critically about themselves because of them. For example, they think they are ‘too fat’, or ‘too slim’, or ‘too weird’ to be accepted. When a guest shows up at their house, they think – there’s nothing to protect here – come on in!
And then without putting in the work of getting to know this guest first, they leave everything unlocked and in the open, give them access to their entire heart, and watch it get rejected before their eyes.
The more you give someone, the more they can reject you. Make sure to get to know them first before giving them access to the whole property of your heart. Just like you would protect your house from a stranger.
With a stranger, you would slowly get to know them before giving them access to the rooms, most valuable and delicate parts of the house, and everything, before having everything out for them to damage.
What are the most delicate parts of the house?
They are our insecurities. The things that we are unsure about, such as our attractiveness and ability to be truly loved. They are fragile because they are easily broken, and once damaged, may be very hard to replace. We show strangers these delicate places because we are unable to look at them ourselves. Thinking that we don’t matter, we think – well then maybe the china doesn’t matter too!
On a deep-down level, we hope that the stranger will see these fragile pieces and accept them. Help to strengthen them and put them back together. As our self-esteem grows, the fragile pieces become harder to break. As we are more sure of our abilities, it is harder to make us feel that we are nothing.
But this, unfortunately in the vast majority of the time, won’t come from a stranger. It will come from someone who is a really good person. Those genuinely good people who really care about you and want to help you. They want to support you to reach your dreams and to feel at home in your body. But these people have to be both made and found.
Don’t waste your time entertaining strangers that aren’t good for you. Politely ask them to leave so that you can have more time to work on yourself to attract the right ones. Spend your time where it matters.
The bad guests like to make an easy steal and run. Show them that it’s going to take time with you, that you have to get to know you first before you show them the different rooms of your heart and invite them in, and you’ll see something magical happen. The bad guests will get tired and leave. Without the bad guests in the house, you will start to feel better about yourself and find more time to maintain this house which represents your heart. Then the good ones will come, and you’ll be ready to invite them in.
How do I get the right people to the house?
How can you attract the right people to your house? Well, first you have to have a house worth visiting. Is the outside light on? Are the rooms taken care of? Does the house look like it is maintained from the outside? When the right guests come, do you let them in?
I’m not saying that you have to change who you are to have the right people come in or pretend that you’re someone you’re not. I’m saying that you have to treat yourself as if you’re someone worth being cherished.
If a good guest comes to the house and will be very good to you, but sees that you let bad guests enter all the time and take everything, they won’t want to enter the house. They’ll look for a better one. They’ll think that there’s nothing valuable in this house if people can come in and go everywhere so easily, so instead, they’ll look for another.
If you keep having guests in, this nice guest won’t enter anyway because they won’t want to disturb you. The house will be occupied, so they’ll move right along.
You can make your house nice and attractive to good visitors by taking care of it as if it is something worth caring for. We’re going to discuss this further in the next post, “Move from the cycle of shame to the cycle of growth.” Here, we’ll also talk about why people feel the need to let the wrong people in further, how this cycle gets worse, and how to change the cycle to get it working for you: how to move from the cycle of shame to the cycle of growth. Thanks to our volunteer designers for the great infographics in it!
As a sneak peak to the next article, here’s an infographic you can apply to your life right now:
Thank you for reading. Please share this piece with someone you think it may help. Together, we can make our vision of healthier relationships and stronger families a reality.
Prefer podcasts? Check out our “How to Protect Our Hearts the Smart Way” episode, based on this article, wherever you get your podcasts: